How Lung Cancer Screening Can Save Your Life

By MedStar Health

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Lung cancer is the deadliest form of cancer, killing more men and women than breast, colon, and prostate cancers combined. In fact, lung cancer makes up nearly 25% of all cancer deaths according to the American Cancer Society.

It’s as scary as it sounds, but there is good news. The number of people who are diagnosed with lung cancer is declining and the survival rate of those diagnosed is increasing. That’s because more people are quitting smoking—and advances in lung cancer screening make it easier than ever to detect lung cancer early.

And, when lung cancer is spotted in early stages, it is more likely to be curable.

3D pictures of your lungs can reveal small abnormalities before symptoms appear.

Today, doctors can find signs of lung cancer before you experience symptoms using modern x-ray technology called a low-dose computed tomography scan, or LDCT scan. During a LDCT scan, a radiologist takes x-rays of the lungs from multiple angles, creating a 2D image of your lungs and the surrounding areas.

These images are so detailed that doctors can see tiny spots, called nodules. Most nodules are smaller than half an inch and aren’t cancerous, but annual lung cancer screening can track them over time. A growing nodule may be a sign of cancer, so a change in size may prompt your doctor to further evaluate a suspicious nodule.

Since lung cancer symptoms typically don’t appear until cancer has progressed to an advanced stage, it’s important to get screened early if you are at risk. Early screening increases your chances of catching lung cancer early when there are more treatment options and survival rates are higher.

See if you're eligible for a screening.

Screening can reduce your risk of dying from lung cancer by as much as 20%.

LDCT scans can save more lives compared to traditional chest x-rays, based on a study from the National Cancer Institute. Those considered at risk for lung cancer are actually as much as 20% less likely to die from lung cancer if it’s caught via LDCT scans, compared to chest x-rays.

#LungCancer can be life-threatening, but a screening could reduce your risk of dying by as much as 20%, according to @theNCI. Nurse Navigator Clara Yoder, BSN, CCRN, shares how annual screening can save your life via @MedStarHealth’s #LiveWellHealthy blog:

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The amount of radiation in LDCT scans is 75% lower than traditional CT scans.

LDCT scans increase survival rates for those diagnosed with lung cancer, and they also offer 75% less radiation compared to traditional CT scans. By significantly reducing the amount of radiation your body is exposed to, LDCT scans offer the benefit of early detection without the risk that comes with a standard chest scan.

Lung cancer screening is painless, short, and can add years to your life.

During an LDCT scan, you’ll lie down on a table for about 10 minutes while a table passes slowly through an x-ray machine—or an x-ray machine will move around you. You may be asked to hold your breath periodically, which will ensure quality pictures. The scan won’t hurt at all, and since most machines don’t enclose your whole body, it’s unlikely that you’ll feel claustrophobic.

Most importantly, lung cancer screening can save your life, giving you more time with your friends and family.

Are you at risk for lung cancer? Click below or call 410-591-6969 to request a lung cancer screening*.

Request a Lung Screening


*Lung screenings are often covered by insurance for individuals who meet the risk criteria. Please talk to your doctor if you are unsure if you meet the criteria.

Still, the best way to prevent lung cancer is to stop smoking.

Lung cancer screening is a great way to catch lung cancer early, but the best way to prevent it is to stop smoking altogether. And, it’s never too late to quit.

While lung cancer screening can reduce your chances of dying by as much as 20%, a 50-year-old who stops smoking can reduce their chances of dying by 50%.

If you’re ready to quit smoking for good and minimize your chances of lung cancer, we can help. We offer a free smoking cessation program in Baltimore at MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center.

During our six-week program, you’ll receive practical counseling from a registered nurse and certified tobacco treatment specialist in a group setting full of support and encouragement from others taking the same brave step towards being smoke-free.

Should you be screened for lung cancer?

The American Cancer Society recommends people who are at a higher risk for developing lung cancer get screened every year. Are you at risk? Take our quiz below to find out!

Here’s what to remember…

If you’re at risk for lung cancer, annual screenings just might save your life.

Consider taking the following steps to minimize your risk of lung cancer and improve your chances of survival, if diagnosed.

  • Talk to your doctor to see if you meet the lung cancer screening criteria
  • Get help to quit smoking in a way that works for you

Have more questions? Click below or call us today at 410-591-6969 to learn about how we use fast efficient technology to diagnose lung cancer.

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